HUNTSVILLE, Ala. - The owner of Sam and Greg's Pizzeria in downtown Huntsville says he's being told to pack it up and move out.
Owner Greg Hathorn says after 11 years, the building owner MAG Properties LLC, isn't renewing his lease, which runs out at the end of November.
"We are simply being told to move out so that the upstairs can be renovated for lease as office space," the owners said on Facebook.
From the charming exterior to the colorful options of gelato under the glass, people in downtown Huntsville know Sam and Greg's.
"It's pretty much an institution," Greg Gum said.
In over 10 years, Sam and Greg's Pizzeria has become part of the fabric of downtown Huntsville.
"Sam and Gregs is half the reason of what brings me downtown, I won't lie. Because the pizza is so great," Bryna Toland said.
"I just find it sort of an abomination this is happening," Gum said.
Loyal customers found out in a Facebook message on Friday, the owners of the pizza place may have to close soon.
"I just don't understand why you'd want to kick out a good paying tenant, especially when they're reliable," Christina Wegman said. "And when the restaurant is a downtown icon. Who are they going to bring in who's better?"
Sam and Greg's owner Greg Hathorn says he talked to the building's owner and offered to move next door or buy both locations. Those offers were denied. Instead, the building owner gave him an extra 60 days. He says that doesn't do him much good. And if he doesn't find a new location, he could have to fire close to 20 of his workers.
"They call my mom by her name when she walks in the door. I have so many memories here," Wegman said.
Hathorn says the building owner told him she wants to convert the 2nd floor to office space. The extra 60 days gives him until the end of January to find a new storefront.
"I think good people find a way to succeed, at least I hope they do," Wegman said.
Hathorn says he wants to stay downtown, but will have to spend the holidays house hunting.
The restaurant first opened on the north side of the courthouse square 12 years ago.
Just an hour after the announcement, the Facebook post had hundreds of comments from people sharing memories of eating there.
"Me and my boyfriend had our first date there and ended up talking for 6 hours in the corner over pizza," one poster said. "I have taken so many friends here for dinner and it's one of my favorite places to go with my dad."
Other commenters expressed their displeasure with the business being ousted.
"So wrong!" one poster wrote. "This takes us in the exact opposite direction from where downtown Huntsville has been going!"
WHNT News 19 reached the building owner Margaret Anne Goldsmith on Friday evening for a comment.
She referred us to her attorney.
Sam and Greg's also has a location at 364 Hughes Road in Madison.